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The Post and Courier provides a forum for our readers to share their opinions, and to hold up a mirror to our community. Publication does not imply endorsement by the newspaper; the editorial staff attempts to select a representative sample of letters because we believe it’s important to let our readers see the range of opinions their neighbors submit for publication.

Letter on freedom, responsibility wins May Golden Pen

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Hymans (copy)

After operating under a metaphorical black cloud for most of 2020, Charleston-area restaurants are now dealing with the consequences of very real sunshine. In this May 24, 2020 picture, people line up to get inside Hymans. File/Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

Post and Courier reader Douglas deVlaming is the winner of May's Golden Pen for his letter, "Freedom of Choice," emphasizing the responsibilities that come with freedoms in a democracy.

He took issue with another letter writer who bemoaned a loss of liberties because of the pandemic and stated that “we have always been given the freedom to evaluate risks and make our own choices.”

Building on that, Mr. deVlaming, a Charleston resident, wrote that, indeed, we have, “but freedom always comes with responsibility to respect others and their property. It also requires sacrifice, a word people who live in a free and prosperous society don’t like to hear.”

Driving privileges come with speed limits to prevent endangering others and property and, by the same token, “shutting down the economy prevents the loss of life and the possibility of overwhelming our medical resources.

“We wear a mask, social distance and stay at home to protect ourselves and others,” he wrote. “If we don’t get it, we can’t spread it.”

Experts looked at the costs and benefits and “have asked for our sacrifice to respect others’ right to life,” Mr. deVlaming’s winning May 18 letter said. “Freedom of choice always carries with it the greatest freedom: the opportunity to fail.”

The Golden Pen is awarded monthly. Winners also are invited to an annual luncheon with the newspaper’s editorial staff.

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